Though we still must wait a few weeks to get the full decision, this week the expert adviser to the European Court of Justice issued a clear condemnation of the lawsuit brought by the Slovak and Hungarian governments opposing the European Union refugee quota system, recommending the case be dismissed for seven — yes, seven — different reasons.
Though the court could still choose to go against his recommendations, they almost never do. I could make the arguments of how and why the lawsuit was a waste of time and taxpayer money — not to mention that what is filed exclusively in a cynical attempt to make domestic political gains — but the court expert, Advocate General Yves Bot, does a pretty good job himself.
Mr. Bot concludes that the quota system was “a proportionate means of enabling Greece and Italy to deal with the impact of the 2015 migration crisis”. The plan was always temporary in nature, scheduled to run from September 2015 through September 2017 “in order to address a clearly identified emergency situation,” he writes.
This means that not only did the challenge filed by the Fico and Orbán governments signify that the governments of Slovakia and Hungary did not care about the well-being of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war zones, it also showed they did not care to help their supposed friends in Europe who had no choice but to deal with the people flooding their shores. It was an accident of geography that Italy and Greece were the frontlines of a refugee crisis, just as it would have been Slovakia’s and Hungary’s problem if the war in Ukraine had escalated to the point of causing a refugee crisis.
Mr. Bot goes on to completely dismantle the argument, still made by Orbán and Fico loyalists, that because the quota system hasn’t worked very well it proves they were right all along. “The limited efficacy of the measures provided for in the contested decision does not call in question its appropriateness for achieving the objective sought,” he writes.
Solving difficult problems in cooperation with your neighbors is what leaders are supposed to do. The leaders of Slovakia and Hungary were not even willing to try. By filing the lawsuit and refusing to take refugees in, they sabotaged the implementation of the quota system so they could later point out that it didn’t work in an attempt to prove they were right all along.
This sort of circular logic is — for lack of a better word — bullshit, Mr. Bot says, since the quota system “must be assessed on the basis of the facts and the law at the time when it was adopted and not in the light of retrospective considerations as to how effective it has been.”
Mr. Fico's and Mr. Orbán’s positions on refugees have long been unfriendly, inhumane and immoral — real people died, and many are still suffering — but they now look to be illegal too.
29. Jul 2017 at 12:56 | Benjamin Cunningham